The Los Angeles Lakers have been an absolute mess this season. It all started last season when future Hall of Famer SG Kobe Bryant suffered a long-term injury, and then C Dwight Howard elected to leave via free agency. It continued with PG Steve Nash continuing to get older, and less dependable due to a myriad of injuries, and the fact PF/C Pau Gasol has been unable to do it all by himself. Then, the Lakers might have made things worse by extended Kobe’s deal, hurting their prospects of building a balanced team due to the fact he gobbles up a giant portion of their salary cap.
The Lakers head into the new week tied for last in the Western Conference at 20-39, 15 games out of a playoff spot. And the Lakers give up 106.5 points per game, which is something to remember when setting your Fantasy lineups, especially in daily leagues.
However, it hasn’t been all bad. The Lakers made a deadline deal with the Golden State Warriors, trading SG Steve Blake for SG Kent Bazemore and PG MarShon Brooks. The Warriors hope Blake finally fills their void at the two after letting G Jarrett Jack (Cavaliers) walk during free agency. He should see a decent chunk of minutes in Oakland, and he is worth using as a No. 5 or 6 Fantasy guard in most formats. However, the Warriors might have had the answer already in Bazemore, and could kick themselves for trading the youngster.
Over Bazemore’s first five games with the Lakers, he is averaging 16.2 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.6 APG and 2.0 SPG. He has filled in admirably for SG Nick Young (knee), and the team does not expect Young back anytime soon. However, swingman Xavier Henry (knee) has been recalled from the D-League, and could potentially eat into Bazemore’s fragile Fantasy appeal if he gets hot. The rotation in L.A. is anything but written in stone, so Bazemore shouldn’t be relied upon as a long-term Fantasy option. However, with five games in the upcoming week, he is a must-start in all cumulative and points-based head-to-head formats, and deeper Rotisserie leagues. Swingman Jordan Farmar, PF/C Pau Gasol and swingman Wes Johnson have also emerged as useful options, and are great plays with a five-game week.
Team with five games (1): L.A. Lakers
Teams with four games (17): Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Golden State, Houston, Indiana, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Utah
Teams with three games (9): Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Washington
Teams with two games (3): Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto
MON Chicago at Brooklyn (7:30pm NBATV), New Orleans at Sacramento (10:30pm NBATV)
TUE Miami at Houston (8:00pm NBATV), New Orleans at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm NBATV)
WED Dallas at Denver (8:00pm ESPN), Atlanta at Portland (10:30pm ESPN)
THU Miami at San Antonio (8:00pm TNT), L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers (10:30pm TNT)
FRI Memphis at Chicago (7:00pm ESPN), Indiana at Houston (9:30pm ESPN)
SAT New York at Cleveland (7:30pm NBATV)
SUN Miami at Chicago (1:00pm ABC), Oklahoma City at L.A. Lakers (3:30pm ABC), Detroit at Boston (6:00pm NBATV), Phoenix at Golden State (9:00pm NBATV)
* All Times Eastern (ET)
The road odyssey for the Utah Jazz continues, as they have four more away games on their East Coast trip this week. It will be a very nice week for the likes of PF/C Derrick Favors, PG Trey Burke and company, as they will get a crack at the Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. Milwaukee allows 102.1 points per game, New York allows 100.5 points per game, and Philadelphia gives up an NBA-worst 110.7 points per game. Washington is the best defense they’ll see, and they allow 99.8 points per game. Look for big weeks from your Jazz Fantasy options.
Among the three-game teams, the Los Angeles Clippers have one home game against the banged-up Atlanta Hawks, and two road contests at Phoenix and at L.A. Lakers. The Suns yield 102.3 points per game, and the Lakers have been flogged for 106.5 points per contest, with a good chunk of those points coming in the past two months or so. It will be a nice week for PG Chris Paul, C DeAndre Jordan and PF Blake Griffin, but other options need to be reserved if you have alternatives with four- or five-game schedules.
Indiana Pacers PG George Hill (shoulder) has missed the past two games due to a bruised shoulder, but his injury doesn’t sound like something that is a long-term concern. In leagues which allow daily transactions, reserve Hill and add PG C.J. Watson, if you haven’t already done so. In terms of weekly leagues, Hill could miss another game, but the Pacers have four games this week, so he is likely to play at least three games barring a setback. If you are deep and can afford to sit Hill, do so, but he is a nice Fantasy option in leagues of 12 or more teams despite the uncertainty.
Oklahoma City Thunder SG Thabo Sefolosha (calf) is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks due to a strained calf. That’s great news for the likes of Gs Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb, who are expected to fill a good chunk of Sefolosha’s minutes. PG Reggie Jackson might also be called upon to fill some of the role, as well as newcomer SF Caron Butler, who chose OKC over Miami after his buyout from Milwaukee for scenarios just like this one. Since OKC faces just three games this week, none of the replacements are worth using in cumulative Fantasy leagues, so that will give you a chance to monitor the situation and see who emerges as the big winner.
Orlando Magic PG Jameer Nelson (calf) missed Sunday’s game against Philadelphia due to a sore calf, which was a tough blow for Fantasy owners considering the favorable matchup. Swingman Arron Afflalo (ankle) has continued to sit, and both should be reserved in the upcoming week. PG Ronnie Price is worth a look in the deepest of Fantasy leagues if Nelson is forced to miss more time, but Price should not be owned in leagues of 12 or fewer teams even if he starts.
If you need help in specific categories in Rotisserie Fantasy play, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these guys, who should be available in your league, to help out in certain areas.
Gary Neal, PG, Charlotte/Milwaukee (13.6 ppg over the past five games)
Evan Fournier, PG, Denver (13.6 ppg over the past nine games)
Patty Mills, PG, San Antonio (13.5 ppg over the past eight games)
O.J. Mayo, SG, Milwaukee (13.4 ppg over the past five games)
Elton Brand, PF, Atlanta (8.1 rpg over the past nine games)
Jermaine O’Neal, C, Golden State (8.0 rpg over the past six games)
Reggie Evans, PF, Sacramento (7.8 rpg over the past four games)
Kyle O’Quinn, PF, Orlando (7.3 rpg over the past nine games)
Will Bynum, PG, Detroit (5.9 apg over the past nine games)
Devin Harris, PG, Dallas (4.5 apg over the past eight games)
Ishmael Smith, PG, Phoenix (4.3 apg over the past nine games)
Shelvin Mack, PG, Atlanta (4.2 ppg over the past nine games)
Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City (2.1 spg over the past seven games)
Draymond Green, SF, Golden State (1.7 spg over the past nine games)
Hasheem Thabeet, C, Oklahoma City (1.5 spg over past two games)
Ishmael Smith, PG, Phoenix (1.4 spg over the past nine games)
Bismack Biyombo, C, Charlotte (1.9 bpg over the past eight games)
Ryan Kelly, SF, L.A. Lakers (1.7 bpg over the past seven games)
Elton Brand, PF, Atlanta (1.7 bpg over the past nine games)
Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana (1.6 bpg over the past nine games)
Anthony Tolliver, PF, Charlotte (19 3-pointers over the past eight games)
Mike Miller, SG, Memphis (14 3-pointers over the past eight games)
Mirza Teletovic, PF, Brooklyn (13 3-pointers over the past eight games)
Derek Fisher, PG, Oklahoma City (13 3-pointers over the past seven games)
O.J. Mayo, SG, Milwaukee (13 3-pointers over the past five games)